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14-man Sligo claim historic first Connacht U20 title after late rally against Mayo

There was just eight minutes left as Sligo stormed back from five points down to emerge as provincial champions.

Jack Davitt celebrates scoring a goal for Sligo.
Jack Davitt celebrates scoring a goal for Sligo.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Sligo 4-4

Mayo 1-12

Colm Gannon reports at Markievicz Park

SLIGO STAGED A massive comeback to claim their first Connacht U20 title on Wednesday night in dramatic circumstances.

With eight minutes left they were down to 14 men and trailing by five points, after Paddy Heneghan’s goal – but they outscored Mayo 2-1 to 0-1 down the home straight.

Eoghan Smith rattled their third goal of the evening to bring them back into the game, when he collected a ball that was broken down in the danger area after a sideline was pumped in.

He then drove over a free from long range to cut the gap back to single point and the home faithful were full of belief.

Mayo looked to have calmed their nerves when Niall Treacy got their 12th point of the day with three minutes left on the clock.

From the very next play the ball was worked to the Mayo 45m line and Jack Lavin drove in ball to the danger area, the Mayo goalkeeper Brian O’Flaherty miss-judged the flight of the ball and it ended up in the back of the net.

The Yeats men were able to hold on a frantic few minutes of injury time to claim their first provincial title at this or the former U21 grade, on a historic night in the shadow of Benbulban.

Two first-half goals from Jack Davitt gave Sligo a narrow half time lead against Mayo in the Connacht u20 Football final in Markievicz Park.

Davitt struck his first goal 12 minutes in finishing off a flowing move that saw Lee Duignan pick out Davitt who exchanged passes with Davitt before firing it home.

That score put Sligo into 1-2 to 0-2 lead, having lead 0-2 to 0-0 inside two minutes thanks to points from Duignan and James Donlon.

Mayo had squared it at two points each before the goal through points from Jack Fallon and Rory Morrin – but their profligate nature in front of goal cost them dear as they kicked six wides in the opening half.

They were a point behind when Davitt struck his second goal, a fine finish where he threw a dummy to create space before finishing low to the net 22 minutes in. Mayo pulled themselves level again thanks to some fine scores from Paddy Heneghan, Frank Irwin and Tom Flaherty, but a late point from Donlon had the Yeats men in front at the break.

Scorers for Sligo: Jack Davitt (2-0), Eoghan Smith (1-1, 1f), Jack Lavin (1-0), James Donlon (0-2), Lee Duignan (0-1)

Scorers for Mayo: Paddy Heneghan (1-3, 1f), Frank Irwin (0-4, 3f), Rory Morrin (0-2), Jack Fallon (0-1), Tom O’Flaherty (0-1), Niall Tracey (0-1)

Sligo

16. Kyle Davey (St Michaels)

2. Shane Molloy (St Farnans)

3. Mark McGowan (St Eoin)

20. Feidhlim O’Donnell (Tourlestrane)

5. James Donlon (Drumcliffe Rosses Point)

6. Jack Lavin (Ballymote)

23. Conor Johnston (Coolaney Mullinabreena)

8. Canice Mulligan (St Patricks)

9. Joseph Keaney (St Maolise Gaels)

10. Matt Henry (Eastern Harps)

11. Eoghan Smith (Drumcliffe Rosses Point)

12. Dylan Walsh (Eastern Harps)

13. Luke Marren (Bunnidadden)

14. Lee Duignan (Shamrock Gaels)

15. Jack Davitt (St Maolaise Gaels)

Subs: 7. Ciaran O’Reilly (Drumcliffe Rosses Point) for O’Donnell (BS), 19. Brian Byrne (Curry)

For Donlon, 21. Oisin Flynn (Castleconnor) for Henry, 4. Luke Casserly (St Molaise Gaels) for O’Donnell, 22. Oisin Gorman (Buninadden) for Duignan, 24. Gavin Duffy (Enniscrone Kilglass) for Marren,

Mayo

1. Brian O Flaherty (Islandeady)

2. Alfie Morrison (Louisburgh)

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3. Ruairi Keane (Mayo Gaels)

4. Conal Dawson (Westport)

5. Fenton Kelly (Davitts)

6. Donnacha McHugh (Castlebar Mitchels)

7. Aiden Cosgrove (Kiltimagh)

8. Frank Irwin Ballina (Ballina Stephenites)

9. Jack Fallon (Mayo Gaels)

10. Tom O Flaherty (Aghamore)

11. Dylan Thornton (Ballina Stephenites)

12. Sean Morahan (Castlebar Mitchels)

13. Rory Morrin Ballina (Ballina Stephenites)

14. Paddy Heneghan (Castlebar Mitchels)

15. Cian O Connell (Ballinrobe)

Subs: 18. Cian MacHale (Bohola MoyDavitts) for O’Connell, 20. Conor Reid (Bohola Moy Davitts) for Morrin, 21. Bob Touhy (Castlebar Mitchels) for Dawson, 22. Niall Treacy (Davitts) for Fallon,

Referee: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon)

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About the author:

Colm Gannon

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